Celebration of Bastille Day at the French Residence on July 12th 2019

The Ambassador of France to Namibia H.E. Claire Bodonyi has hosted a reception at the French Residence to celebrate France’s National Day.

Among the guests were Ms Ingrid Tjizo Deputy Director for European Affairs representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Hon. Sakeus Shangala Minister of Justice as well as other members of Government and of the Diplomatic Corps. French nationals and Namibian partners as well as members of the International Community and of the Namibian Civil Society also attended the celebrations.

In total, around 350 guests attended the invite-only event. All were treated to French wine and gastronomy, including well-known Mumm Champagne, French cheese and charcuterie as well as fresh oysters, making the event a truly memorable occasion for all.

The ceremony began with the singing of the national anthems of France and Namibia performed by Romancia Shoonga, followed by a welcoming speech by the Ambassador of the Republic of France to Namibia Claire BODONYI, which states:

I am honored and delighted to welcome you at the French Residence which is also the French embassy since the 23rd March the date we moved in. This is why we improved the setting outside, for the valuable visitors you are. This is the last step of the restructuration of the French embassy my Government asked me to complete. I did the job together with the team of the French embassy, which counts now a staff from the French agency for Development.
In the French diplomatic service, an ambassador is accustomed to deliver the 3rd National Day speech as a farewell one. You are lucky enough to listen to my 3rd one (for the ones who are listening to…) which is not to say good bye… but which still give the vision of France on the friendship and partnership between France and Namibia.
Indeed, we need to exchange and share on our respective but very often common challenges. This need is stronger than ever. In this regard, we cannot and we must not avoid talking about the climate change, especially this year, where typhoons hit the neighboring countries, when flood and severe droughts hit Namibia, when strongest winds and heatwaves hit France and Europe. The solutions will be common. I want to underline that France is a valuable partner in the water sector. Helping managing water resources, providing water to industries (including the prominent tourism sector) and populations through purification or desalinization. These companies help operationally to address the water shortages.
Partnership also when it comes to develop the connectivity of Namibia, starting with the cooperation between Namport and the Port of Dunkerque which bonds not only two continents but also two families looking at the same ocean.
These bonds will be even strengthen between our two continents next year that the French President labelled Africa France 2020, which will include workshops on sustainable cities with the participation of all relevant stakeholders and a cultural season.
Talking about culture, I want here to answer some rumors: no, the French Namibian Cultural Center didn’t close. What a weird idea! This institution is key for Namibia and France. The French courses were never interrupted. But the FNCC has a huge need of refurbishment, especially when it comes to security standards. It also opened itself to what culture fully means, under the UNESCO definition, to innovation and to all these vibrant ideas the Namibian youth brings to successfully and actively participate in the future of Namibia. The cultural activities should re start in some months.
Last but not least, your presence today is a testimony of the links we established throughout the years. Without human beings, there is no friendship…
That incredible festive moment we can share to illustrate it is allowed by our vibrant and generous French companies. I name AIR FRANCE KLM, AIRBUS GROUP, ALTEREO, AQUA SERVICES – VEOLIA, BOLLORE AFRICA LOGISTICS, ETS MAUREL & PROM, INNOSUN, JC DECAUX, MATITI SAFARIS, Orano Namibia, PAM - SAINT GOBAIN, PERNOD RICARD, THALES, TOTAL NAMIBIA, TriStone Africa.
Thank you so much!
Honorable, allow me to address my fellow citizens, even if they all understand English and speak it with that so charming accent (this is what you, English speaking people say to me).
Chères et chers compatriotes
D’une année à l’autre, je me répète. Je suis fière de vous représenter car je suis fière de l’apport que chacun d’entre vous donne à notre pays de résidence et parfois pour vous d’adoption. Nos bureaux sont plus petits, notre représentation en Namibie s’est réduite et vous le ressentez dans votre vie quotidienne, j’en ai conscience. Mais pour ces raisons justement, nos bureaux vous sont plus que jamais ouverts. Je vous remercie aussi de votre aide qui m’est précieuse dans mon travail quotidien d’apprentissage de mon environnement professionnel et parfois même personnel. Vous êtes ici chez vous, même si la maison est plus modeste.
Je vous informe qu’Olivier Raboisson va bientôt partir pour une autre aventure professionnelle et nous allons le regretter. Il a été un excellent collègue et aussi un ami. Merci Olivier, vous allez nous manquer vous et votre famille.
Honorable, we are today celebrating the 230 years of the French Revolution. It is impossible to have such a big cake for so many candles! But we offer to share with you this experience of our mature age. Please, accept this sign of our deep friendship.
Last year, I proposed to raise our glasses for the future Champions of the football World Cup. Allow me to do the same in the spirit of sport for the feminine football world cup winners.

May I now ask you to raise your glass and join me to wish the best for the future of the relations between Namibia and France, and to the health of His Excellency Doctor Hage Geingob President of the Republic of Namibia and to the health of His Excellency Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic of France.

More pictures of the event can be found on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FranceInNamibia/

Last updated on: 16 July 2019